Week 6 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 10/11/2007
My Captain Obvious approach has continued to yield results as we have posted an 11-5-1 against the spread mark over the past two weeks, proving that I can put my money where my mouth is. This weekend is a bit more difficult to handicap though as there are six teams with bye weeks. Not only is this butchering fantasy football teams across the country but it's also leaving gamblers in a position where they're faced with less NFL betting options and tighter lines.
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That being said, there is still plenty of value out there and this weekend won't be an uneventful one. I'm looking for another solid weekend out of the dog, as the puppies have gone 25-19 ATS (56.8 percent) over the past three weeks and 43-33 ATS (56.5 percent) on the season. Further, for those of you that are interested in these things, the NFC has actually roared out of the gate this season in interconference tilts after three straight seasons of total domination by the AFC. The AFC still holds the straight-up edge, 12-10, but the NFC is a respectable 10-10-2 ATS after two straight years of losing more than 60 percent of games ATS versus the dominant conference.
And without further ado, here's Doc's Sports Week 6 Power Rankings:
1) New England Patriots (5-0) - Once again an opponent is accusing the Patriots of dirty play. This just in: just as the Bush Administration is the most corrupt and incompetent in our nation's history, the Belichick Administration is one of the most diabolical in NFL history. But New England wins. And they cash at nearly 65 percent. So it's tough to argue with. But while I'll get rich off their shadiness, there is something to be said about how you play the game, not just whether you won or lost. Also, there is a red flag stat involving the Pats: opponents have managed seven TDs on their nine red zone appearances.
2) Indianapolis Colts (5-0) - The anti-Patriots have been equally flawless on the field and even more impressive off it. The bye week comes at a great time for the Colts. They will get healthy and be prepared for a hellish stretch with three road games against Jacksonville, Carolina, and San Diego sandwiched around the mammoth New England game.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) - For the past three years the Steelers have been an ace 'over' bet at home. No more. That's what a new coaching staff will get you. They are now 1-2 against the total in Heinz Field and have stayed 'under' in seven of their 10 outings dating back to the preseason.
4) Tennessee Titans (3-1) - No, they did not look sharp coming out of their bye week and facing an inferior opponent at home last Sunday. But despite five turnovers they still found a way to win and control the second half of that contest. The Titans are 13-3 ATS as an underdog and Jeff Fisher is 14-1 straight up against NFC South opponents.
5) Dallas Cowboys (5-0) - Their lucky win against Buffalo on Monday - and yes, I'm offering it more to Buffalo's uncanny ability to blow games than any lame and childish sense of perseverance on Dallas' part - reminded me an awful lot of a MNF game from last year. That would be Chicago's miracle, and totally undeserved, win over Arizona. You know what happened the following week? They went home and got bombed in a 31-13 loss to Miami.
6) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) - Since allowing 282 rushing yards against the Titans in Week 1 the Jaguars have allowed a total of 139 yards in their last three outings. Two of those offenses that they shut down (Atlanta and Denver) use the same zone-blocking scheme that Houston will bring to town this week. The Jags are just 1-5 ATS versus the Texans and 0-3 ATS at home against them. Beware the Jags looking ahead to a MNF meeting with Indy.
7) Washington Redskins (3-1) - Don't worry kids, I didn't break my arm patting myself on the back over calling the Skins my sleeper team this year. That was a dominant defensive performance against Detroit and they were even able to overcome some of their generally sloppiness (two fumbles foiled scoring opportunities) to dominate. The Skins are 0-6 ATS against the Pack and 0-5 in their last five trips to Lambeau.
8) Green Bay Packers (4-1) - My first reaction after last Sunday's stunning Bears win was that the game would have a carry-over effect for both teams. We will see. But Green Bay will be without starting center Scott Wells. The Pack is just 4-10-2 ATS in its last 16 home games.
9) Seattle Seahawks (3-2) - Losing Mack Strong is a huge blow to an already sagging Seahawks running game. In their first five games of the season, Shaun Alexander has carried the ball 22 times for 25 yards. Seattle is 3-0 ATS against New Orleans but is just 8-11 ATS at home against NFC opponents.
10) San Diego Chargers (2-3) - Sorry, but my nipples aren't getting hard over their blowout win against a bumbling Denver squad. And even though the cockiness and trash talking is back in San Diego, I still don't think the problems have been fixed. The Bolts are 14-5-3 ATS in its last 22 divisional games but 2-5 ATS as a favorite.
11) Chicago Bears (2-3) - Now I see why the Bears were so excited about Greg Olsen. Even though he's not 100 percent he's still going to be a factor in the offensive game plan. Also, while Cedric Benson will never be a NFL-caliber running back, Chicago's persistence in the running game (31 attempts) allowed them to set up their bread-and-butter: the play-action pass. The Bears are 7-2 ATS in the last nine home games against the Vikings but are just 1-7 ATS overall as a favorite.
12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) - This week's game against the Titans is all on the shoulders of Jeff Garcia. The Bucs are down to two running backs, with a teetering offensive line coming off an 11-attempt, 10-yard outing in Indianapolis, and facing a Tennessee team that's allowing just 72.2 rush yards per game.
13) Houston Texans (3-2) - Pass defense continues to be an Achilles heel for the Texans, and their cornerback platoon belies the bigger issue. Also, Ron Dayne is averaging 2.9 yards per carry and Sam Gado has managed just 2.2. That's not going to get it done against the Jags. Houston is just 8-18 ATS after a win, but the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the underdog is 5-0 ATS.
14) Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) - Philly is 18-5 straight up and 16-7 ATS off a week of rest, including 3-0 ATS as a road favorite. Apart from his eruption against Detroit, D-Nabb has been awful. He is completing just 52.7 percent of his passes for 5.11 yards per attempt. Oh, and the Eagles have passed on 65.5 percent of their offensive plays.
15) Baltimore Ravens (3-2) - What a disgusting team. Steve "Check Down" McNair is completely washed up, and this team has absolutely no shot with him at the helm. He is 20th in the league in QB rating and the Ravens O is just 5-for-16 at scoring TDs in their red zone possessions.
16) New York Giants (3-2) - Brandon Jacobs is back - and he's a beast. With the defense improving he is the X-Factor for whether or not the G-Men will be a true player in the NFC East race. New York is 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to Atlanta but just 1-5 ATS as a road favorite on Monday Night Football.
17) Arizona Cardinals (3-2) - Jesus Christ. What is going on in the NFL when I'm uttering the phrase "Arizona is a solid favorite at home and in a great spot to gain ground in the NFC West"? Arizona is still 4-1 ATS on the season and their value has never been higher. But count me among those who don't know if Kurt Warner has enough in the tank to guide this team without injury or a rash of turnovers.
18) Oakland Raiders (2-2) - Jesus Christ. What is going on in the NFL when I'm uttering the phrase "first place in the AFC West" in any sentence involving the words Oakland Raiders? They have had two weeks to prepare for a team that they're 1-7 ATS against. They're also getting double digits, so if they're ever going to make a move this is the time.
19) Detroit Lions (3-2) - The Lions have been outscored 80-24 in their two losses this year. They were actually losing by 10 points to Chicago before they erupted for 34 points in the fourth quarter of that win, and another victory came courtesy of a field goal that bounced off the uprights. This team is not for real, and I only see about 3-4 more wins on their schedule. Hey, that would be an improvement, but this is nowhere near a playoff-caliber team.
20) Denver Broncos (2-3) - Two fluky last-second field goals - one made in Buffalo and one that banged off a crossbar against Oakland - are all that stands between the Broncos and 0-5. They just lost Tom Nalen, a vital piece of the offensive puzzle, and they are going to lose Travis Henry. Don't look now, but this team has 6-10 written all over it.
21) Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) - How could a team with Larry Johnson on it have the worst rushing game in the entire NFL? The Chiefs are 6-2-1 ATS as a home underdog, with one of the losses coming last week at the hands of the Jaguars. It's difficult to think they'll lose two in a row at home - something that's happened just four times over the past 11 years - but it is certainly possible unless they can muster some sort of running game.
22) Carolina Panthers (3-2) - I know that they are 3-2 and currently tied for first place in the NFC South but this is not a good team. David Carr was excited to come to Carolina this year because he didn't want to play. He wasn't ready. But now he's supposed to lead a young team through the season? Nope. Also, Julius Peppers has mailed it in for over a month. Will he show up at all in 2007 or is he taking the year off?
23) San Francisco 49ers (2-3) - Jim Hostetler will still be calling the plays for the 49ers on the other side of their bye week, although he's guiding the offense to 100 less total yards this year than last.
24) Atlanta Falcons (1-4) - In their 15 trips inside the red zone this year the Falcons have managed just four touchdowns. Their 26.7 percent TD rate is the worst in the league. Also, this is back-to-back weeks that one of Atlanta's best players has taken a shot at Bobby Petrino. Atlanta will be getting back its best defender in Rod Coleman this weekend. Also, punter and "long range field goal specialist" Mike Koenen is now 4-for-13 on field goal attempts over 47 yards in his career.
25) New York Jets (1-4) - The Jets are 10-1 ATS at home after a double-digit straight up loss, but in order to cover this week's like it looks like they're going to have to win outright. And for all the talk about lacking a vertical passing game, New York's 11 pass plays of 20+ yards are better than 12 teams and their two pass plays of 40+ yards are better than 14 teams.
26) Cleveland Browns (2-3) - Browns backers against the Patriots last week took an absolutely brutal beat, with that meaningless INT at the end of the game pushing the Pats to a cover by half a point. Cleveland hasn't been this large of a favorite since 2003 and they are just 2-4 ATS as a chalk of four or greater since 2001.
27) Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) - This is a desperation game for the Bengals and if their turnover-producing defense can't force the Chiefs into at least four mistakes I think that it's time for Marvin Lewis and DC Chuck Bresnahan to pack up and leave town.
28) Buffalo Bills (1-4) - Several columnists ripped the Bills for playing scared in the last five minutes against Dallas. But I say that they actually lost because they were overly aggressive. Deciding to throw the ball at the Dallas 13-yard line was an amazingly ignorant call. They simply should have run a draw, taken the three points, and seized an 11-point lead with six minutes to play. That call should haunt them for weeks.
29) Minnesota Vikings (1-3) - The Bears have not been able to run the ball effectively and I don't see that changing against the Vikings front seven. Minnesota is 0-4 ATS in its last four trips to Chicago. I don't care who is quarterbacking the Vikings this Sunday - if Minnesota manages more than 17 points against the Bears I'll be stunned.
30) New Orleans Saints (0-4) - The Saints are now 8-11 all-time after a bye and 0-2 under Payton. They have tallied a whopping three points in the first quarters of their four games this season. They're now beat up on their already sagging defense and I haven't seen anything from their offense to believe that they will snap out of this funk. I mean, how can you possibly have a 24-play, 93-yard drive (which they did against Carolina)? But on top of that, how could you have a 24-play, 93-yard drive and not score any points (which they did against Carolina)?
31) Miami Dolphins (0-5) - I found it odd that the line on the Fins actually dropped after the news of Trent Green's concussion. To be honest, he was finished even before his debilitating block. The Dolphins have struggled both passing the ball and defending the pass.
32) St. Louis Rams (0-5) - The Rams are 15-31 ATS in their last 46 road games and 9-20 ATS as a road underdog. It's tough to blame Scott Linehan for the team getting old, injured and an attitude seemingly overnight.
For more info on Robert's members picks, check out his Insider Page here.